Revell 1/48 F-105F/G Thunderchief
|Reissue of Monogram kit|
The F-105 (affectionately nicknamed "Thud") evolved from a project begun in 1951 by Republic Aviation to develop a supersonic tactical fighter-bomber to replace the F-84F. The prototype first flew on October 22, 1955, but the first production aircraft, an F-105B, was not delivered to the USAF until 1958. The F-105D all-weather strike fighter and the two-place F-105F dual-purpose trainer-fighter also were built before F-105 production (833 aircraft) ended in 1964. No "C" or "E" series were produced, and the "G"s were modified from F-105Fs.
The "Thunderchief" on display at the USAF Museum (the box art aircraft) began operational service in 1964 as a standard F-105F. In 1967 it joined the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) in Thailand and for nearly three years flew combat missions over Vietnam where it became one of a select few claiming three MiG kills. (There is some question of the validity of these three kills. My records only show one shared kill on 19 Dec, 1967. Ed) In 1970 it was fitted with electronic counter-measure equipment and joined the 388th TFW for "Wild Weasel" duty, attacking enemy surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites. In 1972, the aircraft was modified to the improved F-105G "Wild Weasel" configuration. After another year in Thailand, it was assigned to the 35th TFW at George AFB, California. It remained there until February 1980 when it was flown to the USAF Museum.
Most of us will recognize this old friend. It has been easily ten years since it last was seen in the US and frankly, the molds have held up extremely well. Unlike the previous boxings, this one is not in OD plastic but a nice grey that is much easier to work with. It is unchanged from its original release and is still fine raised detail with a level of accuracy that is still quite good. I won't hazard a guess as to the fidelity of the cockpit, but it looks convincing enough to me. I'm sure that there will be a lot of aftermarket produced for this one, though what is already out there should be enough for most modelers! I should mention that a few of the thicker parts, like the engine cooling intakes on the fuselage side did have some sink marks in them. There are also some ejector pin marks on a pylon or two and the landing gear, but really, the kit is remarkably free from these things. I also had the rear portions of both rudders on the fuselage bent over as the box is just barely large enough for the fuselage. Repair work should be rather straight forward.
The kit provides two major options; one is for an F-105F and the other for an F-105G. Previously these were separate kits, but the G bits have been added, a very nice touch. For things under wings, you have the choice of the following dangly bits. A centerline fuel tank or MER (and the bombs that go on it); a pair of Shrike missiles; a pair of under wing drop tanks; an AGM 78 Harm missile; outer wing bomb racks for one bomb. There are also the G model add-on jamming pods.
The instructions are quite clear as to any modification needed between the two types. They are also quite well done and provide full color information and complete FS 595 information. Markings are for two planes, both in SEA camo of FS 34102, 34079(wrongly marked as 34709), and 30219 upper with 36622 lower sides. The F-105F is the 'farewell' Thud from the 128 TFS, Georgia ANG in 1983 (marked as 1933!). The F-105G is 'Hanoi Hustler' of the 562nd TFS in April 1980, a plane that is now in the USAF museum. Both have ferocious shark mouths. The decal sheet is outstanding with no registration problems I can see and it appears to be very thin. I'm so glad that R-M has finally gotten its act together concerning their decals!
Included is a book by Bert Kinzey on Century Series aircraft. It is 48 pages and quite well done, offering lots of photos and a decent description of all the planes from F-100 to F-107. For those of us with large libraries, there is little new in here with the vast majority of photos being old hat to me and some obviously taken from slide dupes as they are quite contrasty. However, they are useful in that they show cockpit photos and some weapons bay and wheel well stuff. I'd personally like to see these kits offered without the books, but I don't think that is going to happen so if you buy several kits, just give the books as gifts!
I'm glad that this kit is back on the market. No need to pay exorbitant prices from collectors or auction folks and the molding is still nice and crisp. It won't be a toss together kit as none of these older Monogram ones are, but it will make for a most impressive model when done!
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